How Social Media Affects Your Mental Health
Do you know how social media is affecting your mental health?
There’s a good chance it’s not doing you any favors. Especially if you use it a lot.
Contrary to what you might think, isolation and a sense of not being part of something are major social media problems.
According to a recent survey of almost 1,500 teens and young adults on five social networks, only one platform — YouTube — received a net positive score by respondents.
The others were associated with moderate to high levels of depression, anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out) and bullying.
One thing seems certain:
Social Media Problems Are Negatively Affecting Our Mental Health
If it hurts us, why are we so fixated on it? We return to it time and time again, even when we don’t feel better using it.
It’s all part of an unhealthy cycle — similar to what addict’s experience when they keep looking for that drug fix.
The problem is, nothing is ever really fixed. And in the long run, we end up feeling worse.
Why is this? Here are some of the reasons:
We Think More Friends Means “More Social”
This isn’t true.
Having more friends on social media doesn’t mean we have a better social life. In fact, there seems to be a cap on the number of friends a person’s brain can handle.
That number will vary from person to person based on different factors. But the bottom line is, it takes actual in-person social interaction to maintain those friendships.
Virtual interaction is often a waste of time; a way to procrastinate that eventually leads to loneliness.
We Want to Look Amazing Compared to Others
Even if you we do seem to have a fascinating life to share, the act of comparison alone is toxic.
And it’s this comparison factor that makes people feel socially isolated.
Soon enough, we’re scrolling through our feeds, making judgments about others, and seeing how we measure up. And no matter whether you’re coming out on top or bottom, you end up feeling worse.
It’s a lose-lose situation.
We Think It Will Make Us Happier
Yet the more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be.
One study found that Facebook use was directly linked to both less moment-to-moment happiness and to overall less satisfaction with life. But Facebook gives the illusion of immediate connection.
We could be engaging in healthy activities like actually meeting with friends, engaging in conversation, or finding uplifting connections by sharing in the wisdom of this blog or a book they’re all enjoying.
But instead, we opt to believe the illusion that Facebook — or other platforms — are the real deal.
We Do Not See It As A Problem
But as we said earlier, social media has an addictive quality. And it’s a bigger problem than we might truly grasp.
Over the years, many studies have confirmed that people experienced psychological symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped using social media.
Even more telling, a recent follow-up study showed that they also underwent small but measurable physiological effects.
Is Social Media Making You Unhappy?
There’s no arguing that there’s a wealth of social media problems these days. Are you aware of how they’re affecting you?
Try taking a break from social media for a little while and see if you feel more connected.
Explore some interesting blog posts. Connect with your community.
And if you want to leave a comment below about how social media affects you, please do! We’d love to hear from you.